You are now visiting here in Northern Europe, Finland. The land of sauna, famous ice-hockey players, F1-drivers, Marimekko and, of course, very good knitters ;) (Don't forget the Santa Claus, he lives here in Korvatunturi!!).
As you may know, we speak Finnish here, which is not very common language in knitting- related books in the world. So, if I want to know more or get new ideas on knitting, should I buy books in English, German, French, well I have Japanese books also. It is funny that sometimes you know how to knit a pullover but cannot tell your own name in a foreign language.
I order almost all my knitting books on the internet and every time it is a little exciting and at the same time scary – you never really sure what you would get if you haven't seen and browsed the book.
I am glad that I have now a very good chance to get to know more about one of the new knitting books. I haven't seen it yet, only heard and read the blog tour's former stops and seen photos. The book is Casual, Elegant Knits by Dawn Leeseman & Faina Goberstein.
So, I know almost as much as you do, readers, about this book... Let's start shooting questions and see how well they manage to tell us interesting details ;)
Tikru: Tell me shortly main details of your book?
FG: Our book has 24 patterns for men and women. They are divided into three collections according to the mood of the scene. One of them called “City Life” because our characters live in the city, work downtown, go to a restaurant, movies, café, stroll on the streets and so on. They are dressed for all of these occasions. The color scheme is very bold: Red, Black, and Gray. The second collection is called “Elegant Afternoon” where we see the same people more relaxed, spending the afternoon off work. They are dressed in a lighter and more colorful clothes. The third chapter is called “Gotta Have It”. It has 6 accessories.
Tikru: Why your book is worth of buying? What makes it special and why?
FG: I think we did a good job of offering a nice variety of designs that is suitable for many people. We have 11 patterns for men that are modern and stylish. People are commenting that these designs are something that men would actually want to wear. I know my husband loves them. We also use many different stitch patterns that are chosen carefully. For example, reversible patterns for scarves, interesting textured pattern for a Tweed Polo and so on. There are small projects for gifts and there are skirts, sweaters, and felted bags. I need to add that we have many big photographs that help to see the project well. The table of contents is also done with photographs. It is a very user-friendly book. You will love it.
Tikru: I really like knits for man, and even better is that men like them too :) Let's continue.. I am always interested in the design process, so could you tell me something about that? Where do you get the ideas, how to choose colors and yarns? Do you design for the real person (hubby, kids etc)?
FG: Dawn and I were working together on this book and each of us had our own inspiration for doing a certain design. We actually first made a plan and broke the prospective book into chapters and after that we made our mind on what patterns we will need to design. We divided patterns between us practically equally and began designing on our own. Most of the ideas came from our first brainstorming meetings. We do have similar taste in clothes and it helps. My husband was our initial model, so I guess you could say we had him in mind when we worked on the men’s patterns. Our women’s designs are made to our taste and we can gladly wear them.
Tikru: So, you husband have a lot of knits after that process :). Tell me what is the best, fab, most fantastic and your favorite design (in this book, of course) and why?
FG: It is hard to choose one. I like so many of mine and of Dawn’s designs. I think we have a very good selection in the book. Can I name a few?
Tikru: Maybe this time ;)
Tikru: One of my faves is also that Messenger Bag. It has good shape and it looks so cool. I also like very much the opposition of book's designs for example Tweed Polo versus Vintage Hat.
Let's speak then more about the patterns; many knitters want to individualize patterns, using different kind of yarn or modify patterns for they own fit. Ravelry is a great place to see what people have done using same pattern. Are your designs transformable? And how well they fit different body types?
FG: I agree that Ravelry is wonderful. I cannot wait to see with what yarn people will to make our patterns. Yes, many of our patterns are using the yarn that is very easy to substitute. I think only Watercolor Shawl is hard to imitate with some other yarn. Fiesta Yarns has so many colors, though. You can still make different looking shawl. We also were very conscious about the fit for different body types. I think most of out patterns are very flattering for many people.
Tikru: I always want to know more about techniques, so have you used new or unusual techniques in your designs? Do you have instructions for them in the book? Are there charts for cables and surface patterns?
FG: We both are very particular about the use of good knitting techniques. For example, the selvage stitches are always part of the pattern. I used a Decorative Cast-On for two hats that is not very common in America. There is a technique for separating fingers on the fingerless gloves, there are four different brioche stitches. Two hats are made in the round in brioche.
We did charts for most of the stitch patterns not only lace and cable patterns. Our schematics are very clear. There is a generous techniques section with good illustrations and clear explanations. By the way, to help people further, I made a little video on how to do step-by-step that Decorative Cast-On. I put it on my blog.
Tikru: Good to know where to find help for unusual technigues.
Faina, I know that you were born in Russia and moved to the United States later. So, could you tell me how these, very different cultures affect your knitting and designing? And are there differences between knitting in States and knitting in Russia?
FG: You are right, Tikru. I lived in Russia and learned to knit at the age of 8. I never stopped knitting and always made my own designs. I did not publish them, but I never used someone’s pattern. I think my fashion vision was not influenced by my move. I was already married and very established in my ways, so I do not see much of a difference in my taste. I can tell you that at the time I lived in Russia, to buy a good yarn was a difficult task. There was no variety of fibers and colors. Here we have so many different yarns, that I cannot stop wanting to make something.
I did not know that there was another way of knitting. Now I know, I knit continental style and I still think it is so much more economical in the movement. One thing I miss from my Russian period is that I cannot use cm here for my designs. The metric system is much more precise. I would love to continue with it. Maybe some day…
Tikru: Ah.. one vote for metric system here too :)
FG: Tikru, you have two designs published in the last Vogue. They are incredible. Are you publishing in Finland as well? I hope we see more of your designs. Can you tell us a little bit about your plans? Thank you very much for your interest in our book. I hope I gave a good explanation on what to expect from our book and your friends and readers will consider buying it.
Thank you, again.
Tikru: Thank you. I'm happy that you like my desings. I haven't publised in Finland, if not count my own blog. This is one exciting thing in my way to Vogue Knitting... They spot me from Ravelry and everything began there. In the future you may see something from me in the next Knit1, where I am with very good company of bloggers. Great and new style in that magazine. And maybe something more some day. Just keep on listen.
It was great to get you here to tell us more about your new book. I think this conversation and whole tour tell us more about it and people could see what really is behind the nice cover. So Thank You! And see you in the next stop of this tour, with Terry Ross.
Book related - Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company, photographed by Brent Kane.